Here is part of the text of the ruling issued by federal district judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio earlier today:
“Today’s court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent. Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution.”
Garcia’s ruling is a major victory for groups seeking to make marriage legal for gay and lesbian couples nationwide, but it will not win them Texas marriage licenses anytime soon. Garcia has stayed his own ruling pending appeal.
The question is, does this do more to help Wendy Davis, or to help Greg Abbott?
Case 1: It does more to help Abbott. Why? Because the issue will help turn out conservative voters who believe the courts are subverting the will of Texas voters. Plus, he will still be attorney general when the case goes before the Fifth Circuit. Even if he loses (which he will), he can say that he fought the good fight for traditional marriage.
Case 2: It does more to help Wendy Davis. Why? Because the law and the U.S. Constitution are on Davis’s side. Marriage inequality has been argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Fifth Circuit is a very conservative court, but it still has to pay heed to the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.